Hong Kong property

Hong Kong families wait almost four years for public housing

Despite the government’s efforts to construct more public housing, waiting times to get into a public flat continue to rise, according to the latest figures from the Housing Authority

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 7:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 9:14am

Families must now wait almost four years to get into public housing, despite government efforts to build more homes and reduce waiting times to three years.

According to the Housing Authority, the average wait for family applicants had increased from 3.7 years last year to 3.9 this year. Number of general applicants, families and single, elderly people are around 284,800, down slightly from some 285,300 applications last year.

But wait times are longer despite a government push to build more public and private housing.

“I do not expect the waiting time to speed up in the coming three to five years,” said policy think tank Land Watch chairman Lee Wing-tat.

It’s quicker to get public housing than to be buried in Hong Kong ... and four-year average niche wait will get worse

Lee, a former Democratic Party chief and lawmaker, said the current supply of public flats would not be able to catch up to the increasing demand.

“Although [Chief Executive] CY Leung has been called ‘hard-working’ in increasing land supply for housing, the fact remains that the supply is simply not enough,” he said.

“If the production does not increase, the waiting time will only gets longer and longer.”

According to latest data released by the Housing Authority as of the end of March, about half of those in the queue – 150,500 – were family applicants, as well as 134,300 non-elderly single applicants who saw an average waiting time of 3.9 years. For around 24,000 who are single and elderly, the average waiting time was 2.3 years.

The waiting time is measured by the time taken between registration for the public housing and the first flat being offered.

It puts the authority further away from meeting its target of providing the first flat to general applicants after around three year on average.

Last year, the government lowered its flat supply target for the coming 10 years to 460,000 units from the 480,000 target set the previous year. 280,000 units would be built by the government with around 200,000 being public rental housing.

It means the supply of new public flats is around 20,000 per year.